Toward a literary genre of ‘neither peace nor war’
Keywords:War literature, ‘neither peace nor war’, peace studies, testimonial writing
While numerous studies have attempted to define forms of communication for the experience of eye witnessing the atrocities of war, little has been written on the inverse experience: how can one bear witness to not seeing warfare? I propose that this question has a profound ethical and political importance in the present, as the elimination of war’s demolition from the European horizon is essential to understanding the political situation that contemporary authors are witnessing. Retracing recent adaptations of the constructions of peace and war in the field of international studies may serve as a point of departure for determining a literary genre of ‘neither peace nor war’ related to contemporary French life-writings of writers such as Jean Rouaud and Jean-Yves Jouannais. Without being physically present for the events of extreme violence their writing describes in a first-person narrative, this genre creates a space for a reappearance of the war through the reconstructed European horizon of the present and opens a window toward a mode of resistance to the adverse political situation of ‘neither peace nor war’.
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